Lean on Pete (2018)


Critic Consensus: Lean on Pete avoids mawkish melodrama, offering an empathetic yet clear-eyed portrayal of a young man at a crossroads that confirms Charley Plummer as a major talent.


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Movie Info

Fifteen-year-old Charley Thompson (Charlie Plummer) arrives in Portland, Oregon with his single father Ray (Travis Fimmel), both of them eager for a fresh start after a series of hard knocks. While Ray descends into personal turmoil, Charley finds acceptance and camaraderie at a local racetrack where he lands a job caring for an aging Quarter Horse named Lean On Pete. The horse's gruff owner Del Montgomery (Steve Buscemi) and his seasoned jockey Bonnie (Chloë Sevigny) help Charley fill the void of his father's absence-until he discovers that Pete is bound for slaughter, prompting him to take extreme measures to spare his new friend's life. Charley and Pete head out into the great unknown, embarking on an odyssey across the new American frontier in search of a loving aunt Charley hasn't seen in years. They experience adventure and heartbreak in equal measure, but never lose their irrepressible hope and resiliency as they pursue their dream of finding a place they can call home.

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Critic Reviews for Lean on Pete

All Critics (177) | Top Critics (32)

Plummer gives an excellent performance: watchful, sensitive, delicate and yet possessed of a survivor's impassive quality.

May 3, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Throughout, Plummer is mesmerizing, his sunken eyes and gaunt face telling of the layers of hardships Charley is forced to endure.

Apr 20, 2018 | Rating: A | Full Review…

"Lean on Pete" demands a different kind of attention from moviegoers. But the rewards are worth it.

Apr 19, 2018 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

The film is a showcase for a very promising young actor named Charlie Plummer. Lanky, sensitive but assured, Plummer gives his character, 15-year-old Charley, a sense of raw decency maintained through trying circumstances.

Apr 19, 2018 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

There is a disquieting sense that the director has fallen prey to the poetics of space at the expense of the lives within it.

Apr 13, 2018 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

It's hard to imagine anyone watching Lean on Pete and not rooting hard for Charley's wish to come true.

Apr 12, 2018 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Lean on Pete

A story about a boy and a horse could easily become overly sentimental, but "Lean on Pete" doesn't go there. It's more unusual. More truthful. Director Andrew Haigh's ability to engage the viewer in these naturalistic settings and the way in which his actors, especially lead Charlie Plummer as well as Travis Fimmel, make us feel committed, not just invested, but committed to to this world and their journey is almost indescribable. "Lean on Pete" is both extremely cruel and unforgiving and kind and beautiful all at the same time. Like I said, it's truthful; even to the extent it utilizes Selena Gomez and R. Kelly songs in the most authentic ways they could be.

Philip Price
Philip Price

Super Reviewer


Haigh takes what could easily have been a saccharine and emotionally manipulative story and makes something more honest. This allows the movie to earn it's most powerful moments.

Alec Barniskis
Alec Barniskis

Super Reviewer

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